At the moment it may feel like it won’t ever get better, but I promise it will.
There’s no denying that breakups are tough. It’s the grief that comes from losing a loved one, mixed with anger at yourself or your partner, plus any life changes that come with a breakup, like moving out of a shared home.
If you’ve recently been through a breakup, I want to reassure you that it will be okay. At the moment it may feel like it won’t ever get better, but I promise it will. I went through one recently myself, so everything I say is based on my own experiences. I hope you find something that helps you.
Let yourself grieve
In the immediate days after a breakup, simple things become really difficult. Eating, sleeping, even having the motivation to get up every day becomes momentous. In the weeks after my boyfriend broke up with me, I had to go to work most days, and my job performance was affected.
I had no motivation, no drive to do anything, and the weight of my thoughts made it feel impossible to move on some days. I work in customer service, so I’d really struggle putting on a smile for customers, and having to pretend that everything’s okay. I’d be distracted for a little while, then the realisation would hit me again and everything would come flooding back.
This was the same with anything. I’d distract myself with books, movies or music, but as soon as they’d stop I’d feel the same weight of sadness as before. And this is all entirely normal. I always tried running from my thoughts, to avoid the reality that the person I loved wasn’t in my life anymore, but that meant I wasn’t dealing with how I was feeling.
In time, I began to embrace the feelings, instead of running from them. I made a playlist of songs that perfectly expressed how I felt, and had those on repeat constantly. I allowed myself to cry and be angry about it, and I definitely feel I’m better for it now. If I kept running from those thoughts, I would have struggled to accept the breakup.
The thing to remember here is that you’re both feeling different things.
Look after your own feelings
If you have to see your ex, like at school or work, this can make things even more difficult. Seeing them happier than you can make you feel like you never mattered that much to them, or if they’re sad you might feel guilty and blame yourself for how you’re feeling.
Either way, I think the biggest thing to remember is that you don’t actually know how they’re feeling. I know I got caught up in wanting my ex to feel bad for hurting me, but also wanted him to see that I was happy without him. I felt so down, because I was so focused on making him feel things that probably didn’t even have the desired effect.
The thing to remember here is that you’re both feeling different things. How they act in public and around their friends is definitely not a reflection of how they truly feel. Once you try to stop fixating on your ex, you’ll feel freer by just focussing on yourself, and coping with your feelings.
Anything to just get yourself moving is so powerful, especially when getting out of bed can feel like a lot of effort.
Find a way to express yourself
The one thing I found immensely helpful was writing. I opened a document and just wrote down everything I was feeling. As a poet, I found that using analogies and imagery helped rationalise how I was feeling into something real and tangible.
Expressing yourself through art is something that might help, even if you don’t think you’re any good. The point isn’t to be good, it’s to help you express your feelings. If you’re not artistic, it works with any hobby.
Sports can be a great way to let out frustration. I went to a boxing session and I didn’t realise how much anger and tension I was holding in my body. Also, yoga is great for calming the mind. Anything to just get yourself moving is so powerful, especially when getting out of bed can feel like a lot of effort.
Your feelings are valid, no matter what social media or anyone else might tell you.
There's no right or wrong
One of the most important lessons I learnt was that no breakup is the same. I saw so many posts on social media where people try to give universal advice about breakups. I let that affect me to the point where I thought there was a ‘right’ way to process a breakup. But this isn’t true at all.
Everyone goes through a breakup at some point, and everyone will have similar thoughts and feelings; someone might even be in the exact same situation as you. However, this does not mean there is a ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ way to feel. Your feelings are valid, no matter what social media or anyone else might tell you.
At the time all the hateful comments about my ex were difficult to deal with.
I turned to friends and family, and some of them didn’t exactly say the right things. I had lots of comments like, ‘screw him’ and ‘you don’t need him’. While the latter is true now, at the time all the hateful comments about my ex were difficult to deal with.
This was still a person I loved and deeply cared about, and even though I ended up hurt, I still didn’t want to hate him. And this is all okay. Try to remember that no one knows your feelings better than you, and you know what’s best.
Self-care tips for your mental health during a breakup
Don’t run from your feelings
Embrace them and accept them. If this feels too difficult at the moment, that’s okay, and keep doing what you can to cope.
Be kind to yourself
You’re doing your best. Don’t expect too much from yourself.
Do little things every day to get out of your head
Write, draw, run, paint, dance, sing, whatever keeps you going. Whatever brings you joy.
There is no timeline
There’s no timeframe in which you should heal, so take everything at your own pace.
There isn’t anything I’d change about my breakup experience. I know that everything I did was because that’s what helped me at the time. Some days are more difficult than others, but that’s okay.
For now, do whatever feels right. I wish anyone reading this the best on their healing journey, and remember, you are always enough, just the way you are.
Some days are more difficult than others, but that’s okay.
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